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English Literature

Mimi Khalvati: Ghazal

Attitudes, themes and ideas

There is frequent reference to the idea that a lover can complete a person. "I am the grass and you the breeze" and "dew to bedew me" are both natural images of pairs and things that together enhance each other. Both images are concerned with physical closeness and suggest the idea that the love of another person is an experience which causes a transformation or change. Grass is made to move and create a rhythmic sound when the wind blows through it, for example.

"Be heaven and earth to me and I'll be twice the me/I am" is a key line in the poem. It expresses the speaker's opinion that by receiving the love of the person they desire they will become greater, as if having the love of another is a powerful force which increases a person's worth.

But Ghazal also explores the way in which love and longing can be both positive and negative: "yours is the iron fist in the velvet glove", and "mine is the venomous tongue.../charmer, use your charm" are contrasting images that reflect the pleasure and pain of love.

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